We hear stories all the time—on TV, in songs, from friends. At its core, a story is simply a way of conveying information. But a story is more powerful than that. The difference between telling a story and reciting facts is that a story stays with you longer.

We don’t often think of it as a story unless it’s got plot, with action and adventure along the way. We don’t usually see a webpage about a master’s program as a story. But it can be. And it should be.

How can we turn information we want people to know about our program or organization into a story? We can engage them.

To engage an audience I try to keep these principles in mind:

  • Be relevant: Tailor your story to your audience. You’d tell a ghost story differently if you trying to scare kindergarteners than you would if you were talking to high schoolers. If you forget who you are creating content for, you can’t hope to connect with them in a significant way. If you don’t connect, they won’t remember.
  • Enlighten: Many stories entertain, but not all information we want to convey should be treated lightly. Instead of seeking to entertain, we can try to enlighten our audience—give them something that makes a difference in their lives. That can be a key piece of research that teaches them something or a patient story that gives them hope.
  • Reflect your audience: Make sure your audience can see themselves in the story you tell. This can be as obvious as images that look like them and their loved ones, or as subtle as allowing them to place themselves into the story you are telling and identify with the characters or situation you’re discussing.

A good story takes time to craft. Allow yourself the time to tell it well and you’ll reap the rewards.